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The Legacy of the Dymock Poets

Posted on 16th February 2017

This year is the centennial of the death of Edward Thomas, who was killed during the battle of Arras on the 9th April 1917. Prior to his military service, Edward Thomas was part of the Dymock Poets, and though he never resided in the village itself, he held a firm friendship with famous poet Robert Frost. In fact, ‘The Road Not Taken’, Frost’s most famous poem, is based on Thomas’ indecisiveness on their walks together.

Daffodils near Dymock

The village of Dymock sits in The Forest of Dean area of Gloucestershire and rose to fame between 1911 and 1914 when it became the home of the literary group that inherited its name. The group’s members were Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, all of whom lived around or visited the village during that period and contributed to their own quarterly named New Numbers.

It was an advance copy of ‘The Road Not Taken’, a friendly satire of Thomas’ character that led to his enlisting in the military, though Frost had not meant it to have such an effect. After Edward Thomas’ death two years later, the community went their separate ways. The group, while thriving in Dymock and after their parting, found much inspiration in the landscape of the Forest of Dean, as it continued to influence their work.

While staying in a holiday cottage in the Forest of Dean, visiting Dymock and the surrounding areas that these literary giants once walked is a beautiful way to spend a day. Relax and take an afternoon to revel in a countryside that inspired some of the most famous poetry of its time.

“The Sun Used to Shine” by Edward Thomas

The sun used to shine while we two walked

Slowly together, paused and started

Again, and sometimes mused, sometimes talked

As either pleased, and cheerfully parted

 

Each night. We never disagreed

Which gate to rest on. The to be

And the late past we gave small heed.

We turned from men or poetry

 

To rumours of the war remote

Only till both stood disinclined

For aught but the yellow flavorous coat

Of an apple wasps had undermined;

 

Or a sentry of dark betonies,

The stateliest of small flowers on earth,

At the forest verge; or crocuses

Pale purple as if they had their birth

 

In sunless Hades fields. The war

Came back to mind with the moonrise

Which soldiers in the east afar

Beheld then. Nevertheless, our eyes

 

Could as well imagine the Crusades

Or Caesar’s battles. Everything

To faintness like those rumours fade—

Like the brook’s water glittering

 

Under the moonlight—like those walks

Now—like us two that took them, and

The fallen apples, all the talks

And silence—like memory’s sand

 

When the tide covers it late or soon,

And other men through other flowers

In those fields under the same moon

Go talking and have easy hours.

 

Image Credit: P J Photography (Shutterstock)

Lydney Harbour set to become Forest of Dean tourist gem

Posted on 18th July 2016

Thanks to cooperation amongst local leaders and a developer’s vision, Lydney Harbour on the Severn Estuary may soon be transformed into a tourist gem within the upcoming year.

Lydney Harbour

With recent planning permission granted, work is set to commence to make the Forest of Dean’s hidden harbour into a place people want to go whilst on holiday. The development of new restaurants, pubs and historical sites will be yet another great reason to book one of the many nearby holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean.

“It’s important that life and vitality is brought back to this harbour location blessed with some of the most stunning views and outlook on the Severn Estuary,” said harbour custodian Richard Cook in speaking with local media. “By developing the leisure, cultural and historic connections to this site we believe we can make this a major tourist attraction of the south west.”

A business owner in the area, Cook has said he wants to expand his Severn and Wye smokery business – currently from Chaxhill – and bring it to an unused factory on the Harbour. As part of his contribution, he is also hoping to add a restaurant or cafe overlooking the Severn Estuary.

The harbour community of Lydney grew to prominence during the region’s mining years. It was a major stopping point for Forest of Dean coal before it was transported to other parts of the country and even the world.

“I believe the harbour is a hidden gem and has the potential to become one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions,” said Lydney councillor Brian Pearman.

“It makes sense for us all to work together on bringing in investment to improve public access and make the harbour more pleasant for visitors by providing toilets and somewhere people can get something simple to eat and drink,” he said.

Image Credit: Ben Salter (flickr.com)

Gloucester aims for City of Culture by 2025

Posted on 16th March 2016

Gloucester will aim for the title of City of Culture by 2025 in a strategy presented by Gloucester City Council.

Gloucester aims for City of Culture by 2025

City leaders unveiled a far-reaching strategy to transform the city from a cultural blackspot into one of the country’s landmarks, hoping to bring in even greater numbers in tourism.

Following the likes of northern cities such as Liverpool and Hull, Gloucester hopes to improve its image for both visitors and residents, as the 10-year plan will potentially unlock millions in funding from Arts Council England and other groups.

Councillor Lise Noakes, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Gloucester City Council, told the Gloucester Citizen: “Gloucester is clearly on the up but we have a long way to go to have the cultural offering residents deserve, not just for their own enjoyment and wellbeing but also for the economic benefit of the city.”

“That is why the city council has been instrumental in setting up a cultural board but it knows it can’t act alone to develop culture in our city.”

Gloucester and its surrounding towns and villages are already home to beautiful landscapes and luxury Forest of Dean holiday cottages, leading the way for tourism in the county.

Image Credit: Saffron Blaze (Wikimedia commons)

Gloucester Cathedral wait to hear funding decision for £6million project

Posted on 10th February 2016

Gloucester Cathedral hopes to attract not just those staying in nearby luxury holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean but visitors from around the world, with project organisers waiting to hear of the final stage decision for crucial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Gloucester Cathedral

With planning permission being granted for most of the proposed project designs, the Cathedral is now going through the second stage of its bidding process for major funding.

Project Pilgrim will see the grounds of the Cathedral being accentuated, with much of its present car park being removed to open up the entrance of the building. Solar panels will also be installed on the Cathedral roof to cut the cost of energy use by up to 25 per cent. There are also plans to build a new glass-roofed café and make the 14th Century Parliament Suite more accessible.

Speaking to Gloucester Citizen, project manager Anne Cranston commented: “We’re confident that we’ve done everything we possibly could to make sure our round two bid with the Heritage Lottery Fund secures a positive result.”

The decision by the Heritage Lottery Fund is expected to be made in March.

Image Credit: Glen Bowman (flickr.com)

 

Gloucester Cathedral renovation project to start next year

Posted on 07th October 2015

Gloucester Cathedral is set to be renovated at the start of next year and the project, which is expected to cost £6 million, has received more funding.

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral is a popular attraction for visitors to the city, as well as for those staying in holiday cottages close to the Forest of Dean and in the rest of Gloucestershire.

The renovation project will see a car park close to the cathedral turned into a landscaped public area, the cathedral’s Lady Chapel renovated, a new glass entrance for the cathedral built, the creation of a new visitors’ area and a number of other general improvements to the cathedral.

The cathedral has already received £320,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and recently Gloucester Cathedral was given £360,000 by the Summerfield Charitable Trust to help towards revamping the 15th century Lady Chapel. The £6 million Project Pilgrim scheme will predominantly be paid for by a £4.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.5 million from the cathedral itself.

Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester, told the Gloucester Citizen, “We are thrilled the Summerfield Charitable Trust has agreed to award us such a significant grant. It will help breathe new life into one of our most precious assets, ensuring it remains in the best possible condition for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Image Credit: Hugh Llewelyn (flickr.com)